Svenja Schulze took up office today as Federal Environment Minister. After being sworn in yesterday by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Schulze took over from her predecessor, Barbara Hendricks, in a ceremony held in the Berlin offices of the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU). Another handover will be held in the Bonn offices of the BMU tomorrow. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter and Florian Pronold have again been appointed parliamentary state secretaries. In accordance with the organisational decree, issued yesterday evening by the Cabinet, the ministry is now officially called the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, in short - the BMU.
Svenja Schulze commented: "There is a lot of responsibility attached to the role of Federal Environment Minister. I would like to thank Barbara Hendricks for her active commitment to this role. She achieved a great deal. I am taking over a strong ministry and can build on good, solid ground. This ministry deals with very important topics, which focus on protecting our foundations of life: stable climate, clean air, clean water and intact nature. These are major tasks which I plan to tackle with creativity and determination. Climate action will be one of my most important tasks. During this legislative period we will, for the first time, present a climate action law to legally ensure our 2030 climate targets are achieved. This will require a concerted effort from the entire federal government, we can only succeed if we work with and not against one another.
Another focus of my work will be nature conservation. Strengthening the conservation of biological diversity in Germany is one of the core tasks of this ministry. We know about the sharp decline in the insect population. This is a serious existential problem and we must find a solution. This will affect the use of pesticides and agricultural practices. Things will have to change in these areas over the next few years. One of the biggest jobs to start with is certainly clean air in cities. I am not a fan of driving bans. But, if we want to avoid them, we need innovative and creative solutions with the involvement of the entire federal government.
The Federal Environment Ministry is a key driver of modernisation that is making our country fit for the future: this means moving away from dangerous paths like nuclear power, and moving towards technologies that are set to dominate tomorrow's global markets. These include renewable energies, electric mobility, efficiency technologies and a strong recycling industry.
Svenja Schulze was born on 29 September 1968 in Düsseldorf. From 2010 to 2017, she served as Minister for Innovation, Science and Research of the Federal State North Rhine-Westphalia. From 1997 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2018, the German studies and political science graduate was a member of the North Rhine-Westphalia Landtag (state parliament). From 2000 to 2004 she worked as a business consultant with a focus on the public sector.
With the entry into force of the Federal Chancellor's organisational decree, the responsibilities and name of the ministry have changed. Urban development, housing and building will be transferred to the remit of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. In addition, the name of one area will change in German. "Reaktorsicherheit" (reactor safety) will be changed in German to "nukleare Sicherheit" (nuclear safety), as in addition to nuclear reactors, this area deals with the interim and final storage of nuclear waste. The change better reflects the future tasks of the ministry.